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Heads of Department Message 07 April


Some updates – you may or may not be aware of some of this but I thought it worth circulating for information. Please view what’s here it essentially information sharing rather than formal policy announcements.

Pre-Sessional English

The 6 week online programme which I mentioned last week will be made available to our offer-holders, free of charge, for the current year only. We’ve taken the view that this is something that we should do to help and support those international students who still wish to start their studies in the autumn. Further details on how this will work will be available in due course and the information will be provided directly to offer holders, so please don’t announce anything just yet. We need to get all of our externally facing information and communications co-ordinated first before we make any public statements.

PGR Admissions

As you will be aware, there is relatively little that we can currently do to reduce the uncertainty facing UG offer holders and we continue to explore ways in which we can engage supportively with PGT applicants. It might also be worth thinking about ways in which you might be able to support applicants for PGR places. For example, if you have been through a rigorous selection process and you are confident about an applicant’s suitability, then you might wish to consider whether to make an unconditional offer (especially if they are currently completing a Masters and already have their UG award). If you have applicants who have English conditions you might wish to remind them about the availability of our Pre-Sessional English programme and the wider range of tests that are now being accepted. And you’ll also be able to mention (in due course) that PSE will be free of charge for this year. It may even be worth thinking about whether there is an ability to flex around start dates.

UCAS and Admissions

Following the release of further guidance regarding awarding of qualifications, the OfS has released an update to its admissions related moratorium – some useful modifications/clarifications.

Key points are:

  • The moratorium on changing UCAS offers has been extended to 20 April
  • A useful change is that it no longer applies to adjusting conditional to unconditional offers on the basis of students receiving their qualifications (and meeting conditions of their offer) so we can confirm decisions for those students who have received winter results.
  • Similarly, we can now make new unconditional offers to applicants who’ve already got their results
  • Clarification that it does not apply to postgraduates


Key points from the guidance released by Ofqual about the award of A-Levels

Exam centres to generate, for each subject, centre assessment grades then rank order the students within each of the grades. Where there is more than one subject teacher, they will need to agree one rank order for all students within the centre who are taking that subject

So that the final grades awarded are as fair as possible, exam boards will standardise the judgements across different centres once they have been submitted, using a statistical methodology developed in conjunction with Ofqual. This will combine a range of evidence using:

  • expected grade distributions at national level
  • results in previous years at individual centre level
  • the prior attainment profile of students at centre level

Deadline for submitting data to exam boards will be no earlier than 29 May and that centres will have a window of at least two weeks in which to submit the data – so absolute earliest ‘closing’ date would be 12 June



Professor Christine Ennew OBE